Trekkers has completed the 2015 session of Big Trek/Little Trek, an afterschool mentoring program that pairs high school students with 3rd and 4th grade students from St. George School in Tenants Harbor and Lura Libby School in Thomaston. The program is now in its 11th year, and ran for nine weeks this fall.
Fifteen students from Oceanside High School participated as “Bigs” in this year’s program. The Big Trek/Little Trek pairs met each week for one-hour afterschool sessions from mid-October to mid-December. Each session took place at the schools, starting with a snack and circle time where each participant shared a little something about themselves. Each pair of students then had 30–45 minutes of one-on-one time, which sometimes led to larger group activities inspired by an idea of a “Big” or a “Little.”
Keeping true to the Trekkers’ mission, Big Trek/Little Trek builds relationships and continues a mentoring tradition for older students who have already benefited from caring adult role models through their own Trekkers experience. Big Trek/Little Trek is designed to give the “Bigs” a chance to become peer mentors; encouraging them to take a more active role in our community and schools. The benefits for the “Littles” mirror the positive outcomes of the “Bigs,” helping each student to build self-esteem and foster interpersonal relationships.
Speaking about her experience as a leader of this mentoring program, Program Manager Hannah Tannebring stated, “As we near the end of our fall Big Trek/Little Trek session, it is amazing to see how comfortable the “Bigs” and “Littles” are with one another, and with the entire group. The last couple of sessions felt as though we could all sit around the circle for hours and chat about which animal we would want to be and why (or whatever topic came up!). That is pretty incredible when you think about the range of ages in the room. This group of high school mentors is so dedicated to their “Littles” and so willing to listen, interact, and be goofy, which goes such a long way in the lives of these very young people. It’s bittersweet to near the end of this year’s program, as the “Bigs” and “Littles” keep exclaiming that they would like to keep the sessions going and the relationships building for a long time!”
To learn more about becoming a mentor for the next Big Trek/Little Trek sessions, visit www.trekkers.org, or call the Trekkers office at 207-594-5095.
Trekkers is a non-profit outdoor-based mentoring program that connects young people with caring adults through expeditionary learning, community service and adventure-based education. Trekkers serves the six communities of Cushing, Owls Head, Rockland, South Thomaston, St. George and Thomaston.